So, how silly are politics (especially Republican politics) these days, there are now two sitting Senators who have attacked Big Bird on the national stage. The eight-foot, six-year-old bird’s latest “crime” was promoting a vaccine that could help children not die in a pandemic. Anyway, while it feels weird to say about the half-century old children’s TV institution, any news is good news and this one is timed perfectly as the show returns for its 52nd season so we had to lead with it. There’s also a documentary remembering a classic rock legend five years after his death and MTV’s long-running battle of its strangers-in-confined-spaces reality shows–which is one of our favorite things: a spin-off of a spin-off (of two shows in this case).
Sesame Street [HBO Max]
When I was five, my actor uncle sneaked me onto the set of this show and I met Ernie and Bert and their puppeteers and watched as they recorded the video “The Ten Commandments of Health.” That magical, hidden side street on NYC’s Upper West Side returns yet again, now entrenched in HBO’s universe, still full of friendly faces and many, many muppets. Even as a childless adult, it’s refreshing to know that the educational show which first appeared around the same time man landed on the Moon is still around and we can still visit when we might like. Oh, and it does not hurt that Billie Eilish and Kacey Musgraves count (ha ha ha HA!) among the guest stars this season.
Tom Petty, Somewhere You Feel Free [YouTube]
Wildflowers is one of Tom Petty’s most beloved albums and now this documentary that will tell you all about how it was made. Fans take note – there’s a lot of never before seen footage. We all miss Tom but this gives us an opportunity to revisit his talent and vision.
The Challenge All-Stars 2 [Paramount+]
All Stars is back! Paramount’s version of The Challenge with past competitors has returned with new challenges for old challengers. I am excited to see everyone, but especially stoked to see some serious originals who haven’t been on the show in years.
BUT, WAIT, THERE’S MORE:
- In Ragdoll, Lucy Hale stars as an American in the UK working to solve the crimes of a grisly serial killer who gets his name–and in turn we get the name of the show–from his tendency to sew parts of his victims together, six at a time. She’s paired with Henry Lloyd-Hughes as loose cannon Nathan Rose, who they plucked straight out of the takes-a-lunatic-to-catch-one box. It’s based on a novel by Daniel Cole and airs on AMC+.
- Who would have thought an unheralded 2005 DreamWorks film about a bunch of Central Park Zoo animals traveling to Africa and a lemur king who liked to move it move it would spawn so many sequels and spinoffs and live shows. The latest is from Hulu and it’s a prequel series featuring the familiar flock as zoo babies. Never mind the varying life expectencies of different creatures and meh animation, Madagascar: A Little Wild could be… fine.
- Six Spanish couples hope their eyes don’t betray them as they answer questions about their love while a machine monitors their orbs in the “steamy” reality series Love Never Lies.
- The first season of the Diallo Riddle/Salahuddin Brothers comedy about two hustling Chicago brothers (played by said brothers) was promising in its unpredictability if uneven at times… at lots of times. South Side moves on up from Comedy Central to HBO Max for its second season.
- There is also something called Reign of Superwomen on HBO Max release schedules around the web listed as an original Max documentary and it sounds intriguing, but Google searches bring up Reign of the Supermen which just kind of figures. Hopefully, we’ll see if it comes out and maybe even find out what it is today.
- The lush Colombian thriller A Thousand Fangs follows an elite squad on a mission to find a rogue leader (how do you say Hearts of Darness in Spanish?)
- We tried to keep this one as far from our Sesame Street in our thread for fear a certain blue monster with a sweet tooth might catch wind and try to eat this article, but there is a new installment of the Food Network holiday baking special Christmas Cookie Challenge today.
- Paris Hilton has been about milestones this year as four days before the heiress/fashion model/party monster/reality star turned 40 she became engaged to businessman Carter Reum–and, yes, he looks EXACTLY as you might expect. She celebrates the only way she knows how, with the new Peacock reality show Paris in Love.
- It’s a TV day so busy that we’re down to the third part of the third section of “BUT, WAIT” and it’s a major program on a major cable streaming site. The Girlfriends spin-off, The Game, is joinng its predecessor in the reboot… well, “game.” It’s on Paramount+ and features many of the original cast members including Wendy Raquel Robinson, Hosea Chanchez, and Coby Bell.